Prime Minister John Horgan shows some humility in halting development of a new Royal BC Museum

In the spring session of the legislature, BC liberals regained their mojo by repeatedly hammering out a grand plan to create a new BC Royal Museum.

They jumped into the project — which would be funded by a $790 million provincial grant — blithely calling it the prime minister’s vanity project.

The BC Greens also stepped in, with Saanich North and the Islands MLA and Tsartlip First Nation (WJOȽEȽP) member Adam Olsen leading the charge.

Some of the most heated and emotional debates were between Olsen and the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, Melanie Mark, who is a descendant of Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree and Ojibway. They regularly discussed whether this new museum would be beneficial or harmful to indigenous peoples.

Today, Prime Minister John Horgan canceled the project after trying in vain for weeks to defend the proposal on the grounds that BC liberals did not understand the difference between a capital and operating budget.

“We’ve heard the people of BC say that this is the wrong decision at the wrong time,” Horgan said.

He also mentioned that, contrary to the announcement earlier this year, the existing Royal BC Museum east of the Parliament buildings will not close this fall.

“I always try to act in the best interests of British Colombians,” Horgan said. “It involves always listening and taking responsibility when you make the wrong call. This is one of those moments.”

Say what you will about Horgan’s other policies, whether it’s the Site C dam, ancient logging, subsidies to frackers, tax issues, or his government’s response to COVID-19.

In this case, he heard what people were saying and abruptly changed course.

It’s unusual to see a politician speak so candidly about misinterpreting the public’s mood.

Let’s take the main credit for that – while also taking note of how this decision will also dampen some of the momentum that BC liberals were generating under new leader Kevin Falcon.


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